Hi. My name is Marti-Jo Russell and I have spoken with many of you over the last 14 years as a member of the Forage and Soils Lab Customer Support Team. Recently, I was promoted to Customer Support Leader and am enjoying my new role. Included in my responsibilities are oversight and work direction of the Customer Support Group, daily data input, generation of electronic and printed reports, phone support, helping test new computer programming, custom report generation, statistical reporting, accounting and helping troubleshoot when computer programs go awry. With all of this responsibility, my biggest challenge is being pulled in multiple directions by fellow staff members and customers - all of whom want to be first on the list! Prioritization and time management are a big part of my new job and I do my best to keep everyone happy.
To broaden my horizons, last year I stepped into the lab and learned how to perform Gross Energy analyses by bomb calorimetry. It's interesting to analyze the wide variety of samples that come into the lab. Did you know that crickets have a Gross Energy value of 5549 cal/g compared to alfalfa hay at 4626 cal/g? The alfalfa hay sample was excellent in quality at 26.0% CP, 34.2% aNDF and 3.2% fat. The crickets, were 65.6% CP and 17.6% fat. It's the high fat content that gives the crickets the edge in Gross Energy. So if you're ever starving, crickets would make a potent snack! This was my first foray into performing actual analyses and I am now the official back-up person for Gross Energies. It will be difficult in my new position to serve in this role, but now that I've learned it I want to be able to keep doing it from time to time to stay sharp!
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and keeping up with our two little girls (5 & 3 years old). I am also fascinated by sharks with my favorite being the Great White. I've taken courses in biodiversity, biology and conservation through Cornell University and the University of Queensland, Australia. I'm a regular shark junkie and can't wait for "Shark Week" every year!
My favorite part of working for the Forage & Soil Lab is being able to speak with and help people from all over the world. Its rewarding working with customers from six continents (nothing from Antarctica yet) and doing my best to meet their analytical needs.